to Kickoff

Tracy Webster

Getting Started

Congratulations! so you bought the software and you are ready to get started. A lot needs to happen between sales and kickoff. There are a lot of posts out here already on how to interview and/or choose an implementation partner. Spoiler alert: check references and certifications. I wanted to call out a few things that I see as a common gaps or issues that plague project after project and many can be solved by setting it up a few things at the start of the project.

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Steering Committee and Governance

This should be established by the client before kickoff. There should be a charter that details how things will get approved and by whom and how project leadership will submit status updates to the committee. Governance is the approval process - who can sign off etc.

You need to have enough people on the team and they need to have time to do the work. Do not under-estimate the amount of time allocated for them to do this work or you will end up with burned out people. Also, tired people will not bring their best to the project. The quality of your solution is directly tied to the effort of your people. Don't skimp.

Change Management and Communications

These are two very large pieces that make up employee adoption. You should have the structure of a change management plan as well as a schedule of communications that will go out - content and timing. If you don't have this capability in-house, get help to at least stand up the structure and enable your team to run it with a little support.

Training Strategy

From documentation to training methods (in classroom, webinar, etc.) should all be very intentional. This training documentation can also be used for Knowledge Management. This is the content used by your support team to help Tier 1 and 2 calls from your users. Your Tier 3 team should maintain the knowledge management content to be sure that they support the folks that support their users.

Support Model

It will need to be decided how will your solution be supported post go-live? Of course you can get support packages from SAP or from one of the many partners, but it is important you establish a support hierarchy. Tier 1 questions can be handled by your IT help desk, Tier 2 can be a senior level IT Help Desk person and Tier 3 would be a subject matter expert or Super Admin that was likely involved in the implementation project. Tier 3 would also submit tickets to your service provider. When you first transition to support, you may get a lot of escalations to Tier 3, but as your team matures, the numbers will level out. Quite often, HR owns the HR Systems and this will take cross-departmental agreement. Early conversations will be needed to see if the help desk will manage initial tickets. If not, you may need to hire people on the HR side to create an HR Service Center. Find a few Site Admins that can be dedicated post least one to start and more if you have a large population. If these Site Admins can be on the project from the start, they will more time to get training and sharpen their skills to prepare for go-live.

Work on data early!!

If you have an HRIS that will be the system of record, start cleaning up that data. Data conversion and clean up can be a stalled point in the project. Right after you have iteration one signed, you should get a template to start preparing and testing your user load.


Be sure that you have at least basic integrations. Data flows into SuccessFactors, from Recruiting to Onboarding and all the way to EC. If you are replicating data to SAP, be sure you have the proper Add-On Connector installed in SAP and be sure that the integration to update SAP is in scope. Reduction of data entry will save your company so much time. There are of course many other integrations you can do and some amazing opportunities for automation, but these basic ones are needed to leverage efficiencies.

Organization: structure can make your project so much better

This is an area that is not highly technical, but will dramatically improve your experience while "in the project." You need to have an approved shared space to use: Sharefile, Dropbox, Sharepoint, Google Suite, Office. Do not send emails with attachments. Send emails to the link of the document. Version Control is paramount or you will spend time trying to make sense of which document is current: what a time waster. There should be an agreed web conference tool: GoToMeeting, Webex, etc. Be sure that they are approved by security and that everyone on the team can download whatever they need to run/join meetings. Establish a project calendar so that anyone who is taking time off or will be out traveling etc. can easily keep everyone informed. Layer on release dates to plan iterations...

About The Author

Tracy Webster is the President and Principal Consultant at Simply Staffed LLC. When she’s not serving her clients, she is career coaching her two nearly grown sons, trying to remember what her hobbies are and at night, can often be found curled up on the couch with her dog binge-watching whatever her latest obsession is on tv. She calls Cincinnati, Ohio home.